Up to 70 Danes offer to pay energy money back to government

Between 40 and 70 residents of Denmark have contacted authorities because they want to voluntarily repay a 6,000-kroner sum paid out to eligible households as relief for high energy prices.

Up to 70 Danes offer to pay energy money back to government
A "heating cheque" of 6,000 kroner for Danes with high energy bills was announced in February 2022 and paid to around 400,000 homes in August, but as many as 70 want to send the money back. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Despite the wishes of the individuals, the money cannot currently be repaid, the Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen) told news wire Ritzau, after newspaper Ekstra Bladet reported that around 40-70 people had contacted the authority to this end.

The one-off 6,000 kroner payouts, agreed by parliament in March, were sent last month to over 400,000 households which meet the criteria set to receive the relief. They were intended to offset skyrocketing energy costs for households heated by gas ahead of winter.

Households with a collective pre-tax income of under 706,000 kroner were eligible for the one-off cash boosts. Additionally, the household should be primarily heated by individual gas heaters, electronic radiators or be located in a district heating area in which the heating is produced by at least 65 percent gas.

But due to inaccuracies in an online database that requires homeowners to self-report information on their home, including gas boilers, many people are believed to have received the cheques in error.

The government said in August it would investigate the issue. The form and results of the investigation are yet to be clarified.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a briefing earlier this week that she did not regret the government’s decision to spend 2.5 billion kroner on the heating relief.

“We have not regretted providing targeted help but it is obviously regrettable that some problems have occurred in the process,” she said.

Energy Minister Dan Jørgensen said in comments to broadcaster TV2 in August that the government was aware of a risk errors could be made when parliament adopted the law needed to implement the payouts.

But the decision to pay money directly into recipients’ accounts was nevertheless taken “to get the money out there quickly”, he said.

The minister also said that the government would look into setting up a repayment scheme, but no further details of this have yet emerged.

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Denmark and Germany announce plans for hydrogen pipeline

Germany and Denmark will work together to construct a pipeline to transport hydrogen between the two countries, ministers announced on Friday.

Denmark and Germany announce plans for hydrogen pipeline

Danish climate minister Lars Aagaard and German counterpart, Minister for the Economy and Climate Robert Habeck, briefed press on Friday after signing a declaration which could see a hydrogen pipeline between the countries completed by 2028.

“A big thank you to Germany when it comes to questions of energy and climate,” Aagaard said.

“We have the same interests in so many areas. Today we are taking it one step further,” he continued.

The declaration means the countries will work on an underground hydrogen pipeline between the Danish region of West Jutland and northern Germany.

The agreement sets out the general framework for the plan and who will lead it, according to Danish news wire Ritzau.

A Danish-German partnership over a hydrogen pipeline can be seen in a broader context of the Danish government’s plans relating to Power-to-X technology.

Power-to-X is the process by which electricity and water are converted into hydrogen using electrolysis. The hydrogen which is produced can be used as fuel in a number of ways, including as power for ferries, trucks and industry.

An agreement passed by the Danish parliament last year aims to build electrolysis capacity in the Nordic country to 4-6 gigawatts by 2030.

Germany already uses a large amount of hydrogen in its industry and will eventually need to convert from fossil fuel-produced hydrogen to hydrogen produced from sustainable sources such as wind and solar.

Demand for hydrogen power in Denmark is currently more limited.